Sex ed for teenagers is a famously knotty subject, which explains why Pavel Astakhov, Russia’s children’s ombudsman, wants to eschew sex ed classes in favor of literature courses. “It is unacceptable to allow things that could corrupt children,” he said in a television interview. “The best sex education that exists is Russian literature.” (No word yet on what he thinks of Crime and Punishment.) (h/t The Paris Review)
Graywolf Press – the publisher behind Citizen, The Empathy Exams, The Argonauts, and On Immunity: An Inoculation – has built a reputation as “a scrappy little press that harnessed and to some extent generated a revolution in nonfiction, turning the previously unprepossessing genre of the ‘lyric essay’ into a major cultural force.” Over at Vulture, Boris Kachka writes about the history of one of the nation’s leading independent literary publishers.
A team of archaeologists just found Cervantes‘s body, and while that seems like a fun literary and historical event, the New Yorker‘s Ilan Stevens has a slightly different perspective: “Frankly, there is something creepy about bringing Cervantes back from the dead.”
We’ve heard a lot about “Cool Pope” Francis in the past few weeks. For a take on the Vatican that’s a bit different from the usual fare, check out this piece from the London Review of Books on the pontiff’s battle against corruption among the cardinals in Rome.
Vanishing Point, which I’ve praised in the past, is offering an editorial fellowship in digital documentary publishing, and it’s open to people who live near Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, as well as to those who live far away.
New this week: My Education by Susan Choi, Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw, Loteria by Mario Alberto Zambrano, The Unknowns by Gabriel Roth, and a new edition of a previously hard to come by early collection of stories by John Banville, Long Lankin. Stay tuned for our big second-half preview with many, many more anticipated books, coming in less than a week.
The 2012 Costa Book Awards (PDF), which recognize books by writers in the UK and Ireland, were awarded yesterday in the Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book categories. Interestingly, each category was won by a female author. Three cheers for Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies, Francesa Segal’s The Innocents, Mary M. Talbot’s Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, Kathleen Jamie’s Overhaul, Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon.